News and Events

Past Annual Events

15 March 2023

14:00 - 18:00, Trusteeship Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters

14:00 - Arrival
Participants are strongly encouraged to arrive early for security check-in and networking. Participants should anticipate approximately 30 minutes to clear UN security.

14:45 - Doors Open; Participants Take Their Seats

15:00 - Welcome & Opening Remarks

  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women
  • Lise Kingo, Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact 

15:05 - Keynote Address

  • His Excellency Mr. Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, President of Costa Rica

15:15 - Spotlight: Bridging the Gap - Partners, Expertise and Scale

  • Luis Alberto Moreno, President, Inter-American Development Bank 

15:25 - “The World We Want”: Delivering for the 2030 Development Agenda

Gender equality is both a sustainable development objective and solution. The Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) provide a ready-made platform to scale up business action on gender equality and help achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), set forth in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Session includes discussions of: Expanding Access to Decent Jobs; Family and Child Care: From Conundrum to Strategy and Sharing the Value: Bringing Together Business and Women Entrepreneurs. Discussion and audience participation.

  • Benno Bättig, Secretary General of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Government of Switzerland 
  • Kweilin Ellingrud, Partner, McKinsey & Company
  • Nur Ger,  Founder and President, SUTEKS Group 
  • Josh Levs,  Author of All In; Former Reporter for CNN and NPR
  • Tammy Medard, Chief Executive Officer, ANZ Bank Laos Ltd. 
  • Najmah Mallick,  Chief Executive Officer, Meezaan Building Services 

16:30 - Partners for Gender Equality: WEPs Stakeholders in Action

The Women’s Empowerment Principles are taking hold in companies and countries around the world, inspiring new collaborations and helping to pave the way to “Planet 50-50 by 2030”. WEPs Stakeholders report on achievements, future goals, and partnerships in action. 

  • Arancha González,  Executive Director, International Trade Centre
  • Priya Agrawal, Executive Director, Merck for Mothers  
  • Ope Wemi-Jones, Head of Inclusive Banking Group, Access Bank plc. 
  • Hiroko Hashimoto, Representative of Japan for the CSW60 

16:50 - Leading by Example: 2016 WEPs CEO Leadership Awards

Five CEO recipients of this year’s coveted WEPs CEO Leadership Awards discuss the commitment, strategy and planning needed to implement the 7 Principles and make concrete progress towards gender equality in their workplace, marketplace and community.  Discussion and audience participation.

  • Awardee Introductions by Joseph Keefe, President and Chief Executive Officer, Pax World Funds 
  • CEO Panel Moderated by Elizabeth Broderick, Special Adviser, UN Women; Former Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner

17:45 - Spotlight Speaker: Agency and Action

  • Fiza Farhan, Chief Executive Officer,  Buksh Foundation & Buksh Energy PVT LTD 

17:50 - Concluding Remarks

  • His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General

Followed by WEPs Special Reception hosted by Swarovski

The reception will take place in the Delegates Dining Room at United Nations Headquarters and include remarks by:

  • Hon. Elke Ferner, Parliamentary State Secretary, Germany,
  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women; Under Secretary-General, United Nations
  • Lise Kingo, Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact 
  • Nadja Swarovski, Executive Board Member, Swarovski Crystal Business


16 March 2023

7:30 - 18:00, Wyndham New Yorker Hotel

7:30 - Arrival, Coffee & Conversation
Participants are strongly encouraged to arrive early at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel (481 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001) for security check-in and networking

8:00 - Morning Breakout Sessions

Simultaneous programmes strengthen the WEPs communities of practice by diving deep and sharing lessons from three strategies:

1) Changing Behavior and Workplace Culture for Inclusion:  This unique training session provides practical solutions for participants seeking to create inclusive workplaces by changing individual behavior, organizational culture and processes.

  • Tinna C. Nielsen, Founder, Move The Elephant For Inclusiveness

2) Ending Violence Against Women is Everyone’s Business - Workplace Action and Responses: Learn why coalitions from business, NGOs and Governments are coming together to show that violence against women is a workplace issue and innovative approaches companies are taking to prevent and respond to violence that is impacting their employees and women in their communities.

  • Moderated by Elizabeth Broderick, Special Adviser, UN Women; Former Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner
  • Rosie Batty, 2015 Australian of the Year and Domestic Violence Campaigner 
  • Elizabeth Shaw, ‎Manager Advisory Services, KPMG
  • Marja Ruotanen, Director of Human Dignity and Equality, Council of Europe
  • Céline Bonnaire, Head, Kering Foundation 

3) Women and the Value Chain - Lessons Learned:  Companies and international organizations share innovative good practices on engaging women throughout the value chain to improve business models to become inclusive and sustainable.   

  • Moderated by Meg Jones, Chief of Women’s Economic Empowerment, UN Women
  • Joan Kerr, Director, Supplier Diversity and Sustainability Pacific Gas & Electric Company 
  • Elizabeth Vazquez, President, CEO, and Co-Founder of WEConnect International, WeConnect 
  • Najmah Mallick,  Chief Executive Officer, Meezaan Building Services 
  • Irene Natividad, President, Global Summit of Women and Chair, Corporate Women Directors International
  • Vanessa Erogbogbo, Head of the Women and Trade Programme, International Trade Centre 

9:30 - Welcome

  • Lise Kingo, Executive Director, UN Global Compact
  • Joseph Keefe, President and Chief Executive Officer, Pax World Funds
  • Elizabeth Broderick, Special Adviser, UN Women; Former Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner

9:40 - Spotlight: Men, Business, and the Gender Equality Advantage

  • Michael Kaufman, Co-Founder, White Ribbon Campaign; Senior Fellow, Instituto Promundo 

10:00 - Action Plans for Impact: Setting Goals, Targets and Measurements 

With the adoption of the SDGs, and in particular SDG 5, Governments are looking to the private sector to help meet national and global goals. In order to do its part, business will need to set ambitious goals and identify targets to track and report on progress. For more than five years, the WEPs have served as comprehensive guidance to help business shape gender inclusive strategies and many companies can now offer vital lessons on how to track and measure results. Discussion and audience participation.

Opening Discussion:
  • Moderated by Rini Simon Khanna, Media Person, Anchor/Moderator  
  • Amanda Ellis, Special Advisor to the President, East-West Center 
  • Debra Cammer Hines, Principal, Ernst&Young 
Panel Discussion:
  • Moderated by Aditi Mohapatra, Lead, Global Women’s Empowerment, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR)
  • Rohini Anand, Senior Vice President, and Chief Diversity & Corporate Responsibility Officer, Sodexo
  • Angela Guy, Senior Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion, L’Oréal USA
  • Rafael Carbonell Blanco, Vice President, Human Resources, Emgesa – Codensa 
  • İdil Türkmenoğlu, Human Resources & Sustainability Vice President, Boyner Group

11:30 - Break

12:00 - WEPs Around the World: Partnering for 2030

From Brazil to Turkey, South Africa to the United Kingdom, India to Columbia, WEPs stakeholder coalitions aim to remove barriers to women’s empowerment, benefit society and improve business at the same time.  Discussion and audience participation.

WEPs Partnership Innovation Brazil: Refugees, Employment and Integration:
  • Vanessa Celano Tarantini, Engagement Opportunities, Global Compact Network Brazil
  • Heloisa Covolan, Coordinator, Social Responsibility, Itaipu Binacional
  • Danielle Pieroni, Organizational Development Director, Fox Time Recursos Humanos 
  • Adriana Carvalho , WEPs Coordinator Brazil, UN Women Brazil Country Office 
WEPs World Tour: Actions and Accomplishments:
  • Gena Smith, SVP, Human Resources; and Global Executive & Creative Recruitment, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Inc.
  • Nicole Malick, Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, NRS International 
  • Gizem Kececi, Head of Corporate Affairs & Diversity, Vodafone Turkey 
  • Maureen Kilgour, Associate Professor, Université de St.Boniface; Co-Facilitator, PRME Working Group on Gender Equality 

13:00 - Lunch & Spotlight: Stories from the Frontlines - Women Leading Business

  • Introduction by Joseph Keefe, President and Chief Executive Officer, Pax World Funds
  • Erika Karp, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Cornerstone Capital Inc. 
  • Archana Bhatnagar, Managing Director, Haylide Chemicals PVT LTD 

14:00 - Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Simultaneous programmes strengthen the WEPs communities of practice by diving deep into new research and highlighting emerging topics:

1) Accelerating Gender Equality in Practice - Male Middle Managers’ Role:  This discussion draws on recent research exploring how male middle managers can support gender parity efforts and highlights practices to engage men as supporters of gender inclusion in the workplace. 

  • Moderated by Elisabeth Kelan, Professor of Leadership, Cranfield School of Management; Director, Cranfield International Centre for Women Leaders  
  • Nate Wong, Manager of Social Impact, Monitor Deloitte
  • Adam Quinton, Founder and CEO, Lucas Point Ventures
  • Tanya Odom, Global Diversity and Inclusion Consultant and Coach
  • Kathrina Bryen, Vice President Organisational Capability, Human Resources,  Aurizon  

2) Why Women’s Health in the Workplace Matters - Prescriptions for Action:  Principle 3 covers health, safety and freedom from violence, emphasizing the need for companies to take into account the different needs of women and men.  Explore the challenges companies face and the solutions designed to support women’s health in the workplace and throughout value chains.

  • Moderated by David Wofford, Vice President of Public-Private Partnerships, Meridian Group International, Inc./Evidence Project
  • Louise Dann, Strategic Partnerships, UNFPA 
  • Eric Austermann, Vice President of Sustainability, Jabil 
  • Julia Arick, Vice President, Caribbean Island Apparel 

3) Employees, Employers and Economies Agree - Childcare Now on the Agenda:  Access to childcare, included in Principle 2, bring positive results to employees, employers and economies as it can foster workplace gender diversity; improve productivity; and decrease absenteeism and turnover. This discussion highlights the business case, innovative models for supporting childcare services, lessons from employers, and employees, and findings that can provide stepping stones to replication and expansion.  Discussion and audience participation.

  • Moderated by Carmen Niethammer, Employment Lead, Gender Secretariat, International Finance Corporation
  • Alison Aggarwal, Principal Adviser/ Manager, Australian Human Rights Commission
  • Avra Siegel, Director of Public Policy and Strategic Partnerships, 
  • Tazeen Hasan,  Senior Private Sector Development Specialist, World Bank Group’s Women, Business and the Law 
  • Shauna Olney, Chief of Gender, Equality and Diversity, International Labour Organization
  • Christine Fossaceca, Global Work-Life Solutions Director, JPMorgan Chase

15:30 - All In: Build the Action Agenda

15:50 - Taking Aim at 2030: The Next Generation of Change ​Agents 

Today’s youth steer their peers, parents, leaders and business to make the SDGs and gender equality real and bring us “the world we want”.  This session presents young women and men breaking through stereotypes, utilizing technology, connecting through social media and taking concrete actions to present fresh and successful approaches to long standing problems.  Discussion and audience participation.

  • Moderated by Ravi Karkara, Senior Advisor Strategic Partnership and Advocacy to the Assistant Secretary-General/Deputy Executive Director UN Women
  • Souphachanh Khansyla, Head of International Banking, ANZ Bank Laos Ltd.  
  • Tennile Amor, Singer/Songwriter and Co-founder, E.P.I.C. (Everyday People Initiating Change)
  • Arrey Obenson, Secretary General, JCI (Junior Chamber International) 
  • Holly Ransom, Chief Executive Officer, Emergent 

16:50 - Closing Remarks & Special Performance

17:00 - Reception

Unlimited Potential: Business Partners for Gender Equality

2015 WEPs Annual Event

10-11 March 2015

Year 2015, a number of global milestones – the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action (PfA) and the launch of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – provide a unique opportunity to ensure that the business community is a key partner in achieving gender equality. Held as part of the official CSW59/Beijing+20 programme, the 2015 Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) Annual Event brought together leaders from business, Government, the UN and civil society to reflect on the implications of the PfA and the SDGs, and project an action agenda driven by WEPs champions. Held on 10-11 March 2015 in New York, the event also focused on concrete steps and actions that business can take to advance gender equality in the workplace, marketplace and community.

The UN Global Compact and UN Women were pleased to announce Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Secretary of State of the United States, as the featured keynote speaker at the 2015 WEPs Event on 10 March. After nearly four decades of public service as First Lady, Senator, and U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton now helps lead the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Throughout her career, she has championed rights and opportunities for women and girls. She led the U.S. delegation to the Fourth UN World Conference on Women in 1995 in Beijing, where she delivered her historic speech and proclaimed “women’s rights are human rights”. In her keynote address, Secretary Clinton reflected on progress made in implementing the agenda set in Beijing two decades ago. She also presented key findings and recommendations from "No Ceilings: The Full Participation Report" and outlined an agenda to accelerate the full participation of women and girls around the world.


Event Videos

10 March Programme
11 March Programme:

Gender Equality and the Global Jobs Challenge

6th Annual Women's Empowerment Principles Event

5-6 March 2014, New York

Held over two days, the 6th Annual Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) event, Gender Equality and the Global Jobs Challenge, spotlighted business strategies, experience and challenges on increasing and enhancing job opportunities for women and expanding access to decent jobs. The main event on 6 March, held at the United Nations Headquarters, featured a Morning Plenary, WEPs Leadership Awards, WEPs Luncheon and Afternoon Roundtable Sessions. The 5 March programme, held at 3 West Club, featured a series of WEPs conversations, followed by a government hosted opening reception. Hosted by the WEPs, a partnership initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact, the event brought together the experience of leading stakeholders from business, government and civil society to strengthen local and global solutions. With more than 680 CEO Signatories worldwide, the WEPs provide a roadmap for companies to advance and empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community.

For a complete event roundup, visit the Guardian Women in Leadership's live blog with videos, interviews and perspectives, and our own Storify featuring coverage and conversations on #EqualityMeansJobs. We also invite you to continue the #WEPs conversation beyond the event on Twitter (@WEPrinciples) and Facebook.

Check out the Business in Society programme featuring the WEPs, Anne-Marie Slaughter and other champions of women's empowerment.

6 March Programme | 5 March ProgrammeRecorded Webcast | Photos | List of Participants | 2014 WEPs CEO Leadership Awards | Press Release | Summary of Media CoverageSponsors

Inclusion: Strategy for Change

5th Annual Women's Empowerment Principles Event

6 March 2013, New York

The event-held in observance of International Women's Day-focused on how inclusive business strategies and practices drive change towards realizing the Women's Empowerment Principles and featured innovative approaches the private sector is taking to overcome challenges to achieve gender equality in the workplace, marketplace and community. Participants included business leaders and representatives from a wide range of sectors and geographical regions and other key stakeholders from civil society, government and academia.

Meeting Report | Agenda | Summary of Media Coverage | Press Release | Photos | List of Participants | Sponsors 1st Annual WEPs Leadership Awards

Event Videos

Join us on Twitter at @WEPrinciples and #strategy4change.

Gender Equality for Sustainable Business

4th Annual Women's Empowerment Principles Event

6 March 2012, New York

Companies that have signed the CEO Statement of Support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles, as well as other businesses and stakeholders, convened to discuss how corporate behaviour and practices are being transformed to align with the WEPs. As in previous years, participants shared their experiences in implementing the WEPs, including best practices, challenges and lessons-learned. The meeting also provided an opportunity for discussion on key topics and themes, including how gender equality fits into the agendas of corporate sustainability and sustainable development.

Meeting Report | Agenda | Press Release | List of Event Participants

Event Videos

Equality Means Business: Putting Principles into Practice

9-10 March 2011, New York

One year after the launch of the Women's Empowerment Principles, representatives from the private sector, Government, civil society and the UN will met at UN Headquarters to take stock of  how the Principles have been operationalized to advance company efforts to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community and identify areas for improvement.

Meeting Report | Agenda | List of Event Participants

Equality Means Business: Launch of the Women's Empowerment Principles

9 March 2010, New York

The event marked the launch of the Women's Empowerment Principles, explored their practical relevance for business, and investigated how best to build support for the spirit of the WEPs.

Meeting Report | Agenda | List of Event Participants | Press Release | Press Statement by Ms. Ines Alberdi, Executive Director, UNIFEM | Press Statement by Mr. Georg Kell, Executive Director, UN Global Compact | Press Statement by Ms. Susie C.Pontarolli, Aide - Environment and Corporate Citizenship Division, COPEL


Advancing Women in the Global Marketplace

5 March 2009, New York

The event brought together business, civil society, academia, labour, governments and the UN to identify what business can and is doing to advance women around the world and how these efforts relate to corporate citizenship. Ultimately, Advancing Women in the Global Marketplace aimed to develop a more coherent and multi-faceted vision of the many ways in which business can help empower women around the world.

The event featured a series of interactive sessions on creating the optimum workplace, women and entrepreneurship, public-private partnerships, and other initiatives. As a central element of the day's agenda, participants discussed whether a set of Women's Principles, a new voluntary code of conduct for business designed to promote gender equality, might be useful to stimulate further progress.

Meeting Report | Agenda | Lead Discussants